January 27, 2008

In Govt. We Trust

Well, I guess no one should be surprised that when the U.S. Mint released their plans for the new Predisdential one dollar coins the babies on the christian right would be in an uproar over how they took "In God We Trust" off of our coins!

Except they didn't. They just moved the saying and our other motto, "E pluribus unum", the mint mark, and the year the coin was minted, to the edge of the coin. When they initially released the coins, there was an error at the mint, and 50,000 coins got out without their edge inscriptions. Anyone who wants to see an anti-christian bias here will find it, but the rest of us intelligent, reasonable, rational, thinking adults can see how this was just a simple mistake, easily fixed, and that we can all go on not using these coins except when they are forced upon us.


January 23, 2008

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

A change in topic here, but one that I feel falls into the category of freethought. What this post is about is art, the most subjective and disputed of all of man's creations.

The list of nominees for the 80th Academy Awards was released today, and once again, the majority of the movie going public was struck sharply across the face by the elitist cabal of self-congratulating pricks that make up the voting members of the academy.

When you hear the words Best Cinemetography, do you not assume as I do that they are pointing out the fine achievement in visual exposition that one or few persons managed to capture; a feat requiring incredible skill to produce the desired effect shot after shot for an entire feature length film; a measured collaboration of light, shadow, color, motion, energy, temperature, atmosphere; a thoroughly calculated series of decisions as to what angle and speed and focus with hundreds of cameras, dozens of mediums, and millions of minute details that could through the whole shot off as per the director's specifications? Sit down and watch a film like 300, Transformers, Rescue Dawn, I am legend, The Bourne Ultimatum, Bridge To Terabithia, The Astronaut Farmer, Zodiac, Reign Over Me, Shooter, Grindhouse, Disturbia, Next, Spiderman 3, 28 Weeks Later, Fantastic 4, 1408, Live Free Or Die Hard, Stardust, The Invasion, War, Halloween, Into The Wild, Resident Evil Extinction, Michael Clayton, 30 Days Of Night, Rendition, Saw IV, American Gangster, The Mist, The Golden Compass, and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, just to name a few; ask yourself, "Did No Country For Old Men really have superior cinematography, with regards to the complexity, creativity, knowledge and ingenuity required to obtain those shots desired?" Personally, having seen many of those movies and having watched the behind the scenes footage, and by nature studying the screen for minor flaws and inconsistencies in a film, I absolutely refuse to accept the choices for the award this year.

What movies would I have chosen for that particular award? Transformers, Rescue Dawn, 1408, Sunshine, and 300. I haven't seen every movie that came out this year, but I can tell you that holding a camera and filming terrific acting, excellent directing, beautiful scenery bound together with an spectacular plot does not merit an award. The Academy's voters are rewarding the cinematographers of five very good movies for being a part of that movie and capturing all of it's elements; that is not all that is cinematography. A video camera today is capable of capturing a film and its elements and making a great movie (Blair Witch Project); so what is cinematography? Get rid of everything except the camera, the people operating it, and the scene that is supposed to be captured. A good cinematographer is an artist. Their muse is the director, telling him what is expected and what is wanted; their tool is the camera; their medium is the electromagnetic spectrum, both visible and invisible to the naked eye. We should reward the effort, not the product.

Why are the Academy Awards losing viewer ship? Because people are catching on to this crap. Last year the best movie to be released was V for Vendetta. It had action, drama, romance, comedy, a message (hundreds of them, in fact), it was relevant to the times, it was filmed beautifully, it was adapted quite well from a terrific source, and every person involved with the film had passion for it. It wasn't even nominated for best picture. And why not? What does Best Picture really mean? It means the best fucking movie to come out all year, the movie that touched the most hearts, inspired the most minds, drew in the most crowds, motivated the most discussions, had the most viral videos made about it. Hollywood has more power on earth than any other force. When a movie comes out that makes a significant impact upon Human Culture, it deserves to be honored. Last year The Departed won Best Picture. That was the first time in a long time that I have agreed with the academy's choice.

Right now, I have lost complete faith in them. They truly are a group of pretentious assholes, reveling in their ability to piss people off. Well, they succeeded with me.


January 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The mind is such a strange and curious beast, capable of self-deception... and we rarely see everything around us, even when we have our eyes open."

--- (our very own) Cloudberry

January 20, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Sorry all... I was thinking we could use a bit of comic relief following two death-posts!

This image is courtesy of Landover Baptist Church. They sell T-shirts & mugs & lots of other fun stuff, with sentiments such as this.


They also have some highly irreverent reading material, etc.



January 18, 2008

My Supernatural Experience

She lay dying on the bed; weak, frail, her already soft voice cut from her heart by her life of disappointment. The window was open; it was December, everyone was cold except her. Her petite form was skeletal now; a stroke, lungs destroyed by her husbands decades of smoking, and her current inability to move without help left her practically immobile. Every time you looked at her you wanted to cry for her. It was uncomfortable to the extreme to be in her home. I always hated going there. She was cold, through and through. The only thing she and I ever did together was to go see the movie "Alaska".

When she died, she said she saw angels come into the room. She wanted the window left open so they could get in. She wanted to feel cold so she could enjoy the warmth of heaven. She "saw" angels on her shoulder.

My Father, and my Uncles, who were witness to her death, saw the truth. They saw curtains blowing the drapes into the room, light reflecting off of them, giving the illusion of an angels wings. It was a sunny December day that she died.

My Uncle Rob, the richest of her sons, saw in her death the confirmation of his religious beliefs. He saw a woman who had struggled and sacrificed her entire life to bring up three boys, always wanting the best for them, never caring for herself. Her death confirmed gods existence for him.

My Uncle Pat, the black sheep of the family, a selfish, evil man, had his belief that god created us and then abandoned us, taking love with him, confirmed. That's all I have to say about him.

My Father, on the other hand, an Atheist, saw what I saw. He saw that there is no god. He saw three people desperately trying to find evidence for a delusion. That is why he told me what happened in that room. And that is why I am telling you this now.

god exists only because you want him to


January 14, 2008

My Supernatural Experience?

My Mother was very special. She was a Freethinker, an Animal lover, not prejudiced, very stubborn, and a slacker (in a very good way!). I am proud to take after her in these respects, as best I can.

In late 1993, my mom was diagnosed with cancer- Squamous Cell Carcinoma to be exact. She had the cancer removed in early '94- supposedly, the operation was a success...

Cut to late June of 1995- my dear ol' mom was on her deathbed. The cancer had returned of course- with a vengeance! She was in & out of a coma-like state for the last 2 weeks of her life- prior to that, she was suffering horribly...

Early in her last week, she alarmed everyone at the house by waking up & calling out desperately for her Mother & Father. My sister went to her and said, "You were only dreaming, mom." My mother then said, "No... they were HERE!!!" She WAS on lots of morphine...

Cut to July 6th, 1995- it was my turn to stay with mom while my sister & father checked out a hospice. The whole experience had taken a huge toll on the family- especially my dear ol' dad.

At approximately 8:30 pm, I looked down at my mother, and thought about all the pain & suffering... and then I prayed...

If you can call it that. It was more like, "Now see here, You! Either I want to see a miracle, right this very moment, or you take her! Enough is enough!!!

Mom died at about noon the next day.

That night, my mother appeared to me in a dream. She was standing in the kitchen, straight & healthy. I remember saying, "But mom, you're...." All she said back to me was, "Don't worry... I'm fine."

Both of these events made me stop & think, but were they supernatural? Nah.

My mother was cremated- I was the one who spread her ashes. It all seemed so NATURAL.

Strangely, losing my mother (& father 3 years later) caused me to become MORE atheistic... not because I was angry at God or anything. It was the naturalness of it- all that lives will eventually die, and the afterlife is most likely a lie?

Mark T.

January 12, 2008

Origin of Life Made Easy

Could the origins of life on Earth have been this simple? I think so...

This video is credited to Potholer54 on YouTube. He has a whole series of videos there- very informative stuff!


January 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

Leon Trotsky

As long as I breathe I hope. As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness!

January 8, 2008

Pimping for Jesus

Thanks to Richard for turning us on to Pat Condell!

"Door To Heaven"

For your enjoyment(?), here's a neat little Christian propaganda piece from the year 1941.

One Youtube comment reads, "The Japanese saw this film, and that is the reason they decided to bomb Pearl Harbor".

Another Youtube comment says, "The stupid...it burns..."

All in all, the basic religious message in this film is pretty much the same as it ever was (and still is).


January 6, 2008

Quote Of The Day

Rep. Pete Stark

What is most unconscionable is that there is not a shred of evidence to justify the certain loss of life. Do the generalized threats and half-truths of this administration give any one of us in Congress the confidence to tell a mother or father or family that the loss of their child or loved one was in the name of a just cause?

January 3, 2008

Natural Design

The "natural order of things" appears to be everywhere. We can observe order in the behavior of subatomic particles; in the characteristics of all things on this Earth, both living & non-living; and in the physical attributes of the known universe.

But why? And how? Why does nature seem to favor order and symmetry? Where does "the order" for order come from?

I can't even come close to answering these questions- maybe your friendly neighborhood physicist or molecular biologist could provide some decent answers.

"The key to the universe may lie in the full understanding of self-organizing, self-replicating, interlocking patterns of nature." Sorry, that's the best I can do at this point in time!

I can, however, say with all confidence that the answer to any of the above questions is NOT "intelligent design".

In a sense, ID is conventional religion's last great hope. Intelligent design appears to be the only method of attempting to "prove" the existence of a creator/designer God using science- regardless of non-existent evidence and illogical reasoning.

Evidence of nature's self-perpetuation and, dare I say, self-design, is readily apparent... all one needs to do is take a good look around. On the other hand, evidence of a Creator God/Grand Designer/Universal Mind is the same as it's always been, which is none/zilch/nada/zero/missing.

ID proponents resort to anti-science when attempting to validate their theory. We have this, from the "Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center" (I.D.E.A.):

"It's pretty simple: intelligent design theory works by looking for the tell-tale signs of intelligent design in biology. We know and understand the sort of information produced by intelligent agents. We can then look for that sort of information in biology. These tell-tale signs include high levels of specified complexity, which we know is always the product of intelligent design. Thus, when we find evidence for specified complexity, we have evidence that there was intelligent designer! Intelligent design theory need not provide some sort of external evidence for an intelligent designer because the theory itself is a legitimate rationale for concluding that the cause of intelligent design was at work."

Sorry, religious-apologetic-masquerading-as-science-person, you'll have to do a lot better than that!

Mark T.